The Bad News: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 14 million unemployed people in America or a rate of 9.1% and unemployment in Washington DC is 10.4% which is pretty bad
According to Bloomberg.com, DC’s Ward 8 -which is predominately black and has a high number of returning citizens- has the highest unemployment rate in the United States at 25.2%!
“People living in this part of the city tend to have lower education attainment,” said Peter Tatian, a senior researcher in the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and director of NeighborhoodInfo DC. “You also have a lot of people who are returning from incarceration or have other legal problems, and so those folks find themselves at a disadvantage in hiring.”
Ward 7, which has similar demographics to Ward 8 comes in 2nd at 17.1%. Ward 3, by comparison is at 2.7%.
“In some neighborhoods, one out of every three adults is unemployed,” Mayor Vincent Gray said this week (March 2011) in his State of the District speech. “The District is home to the haves and the have-nots. Many of the new jobs created over the past decade have required higher education.”
According to the Washington Examiner, there are 60,000 re-entrants in Washington DC and it is estimated that up to 60% of them are unemployed one year after being released. (marshall.edu)
If not US, then WHO?
The Reentry Network for Returning Citizens is persuaded that we have to take the initiative here in Washington DC. We are taking the lead in developing relationships that will support a pipeline of jobs with contractors, developers, and the business community. These unemployment rates are unacceptable…especially in the nation’s capitol and in a ward that is 4 miles from the White House. We care. We are willing to do what it takes to bring jobs to the poor, the unemployed, the underemployed. There is hope for those of us who have paid our debt to society and strive to be positive, honest, productive members of the community. Stay tuned. Good news is on the way!